- FeatureWhen it comes to sensory information detected by the body, pain is king, and itch is the court jester. But that insistent, tingly feeling—satisfied only by a scratch—is anything but funny to the millions of people who suffer from it chronically.
Peter Parker is lucky he was bitten by a spider and not a silkworm. Not only does “Spider-Man” have way more superhero panache than “Silkworm-Man,” but of all the silks made by various creatures, spider silk is the standout. Exceedingly strong, yet elastic and lightweight, spider silks are ideal for a range of materials, from bulletproof vests to scaffolding for growing cartilage.
Scientists are coming closer to unraveling spiders’ secrets with the hope of producing piles of the fiber to put to good use. While there’s progress in understanding spider silk genes and proteins, challenges persist. Sil
- NewsChemical biomarkers in ancient Australian rocks, once thought to be the oldest known evidence of complex life on Earth, may have infiltrated long after the sediments were laid down, new analyses suggest.
- NewsSome harmful strains of E. coli might rely on something sweet to do harm.
- NewsA widely used agricultural weed killer teams up with fertilizer to render frogs especially vulnerable to debilitating parasites.
- NewsMalaria is thwarting frontline drugs called artemisinins in Cambodia.
- NewsA fungus called Cryptococcus gattii that causes meningitis is slowly making its way down the North American West Coast.
- NewsExcavations in southern Jordan have incited controversy about whether a copper-producing society existed there 3,000 years ago, and whether it was controlled by Israeli kings described in the Old Testament.
- NewsEpsilon Eridani hosts an inner asteroid belt and planet arranged like those in the solar system.